Enabling WordPress themes on a blog-by-blog basis

A new discovery as a result of Monday’s research: WordPress themes can be enabled on a blog-by-blog basis, as well as site-wide. So what? This is significant because it means we can take an existing theme and customise it to meet the specific needs of an individual learner or school blog without those changes affecting anyone else.

Andreas themeFor example, if a school wanted to use a theme which includes its own header image, but wanted to replace the image with a picture of the school, that can be done – even if the theme’s options don’t provide for user customisation. The resulting modified theme can then be made available only to that school’s blog, or to all bloggers at the school.

There’s more to it than this, as it also means a whole range of design and layout possibilities become feasible with WPMU that I’d thought would be impractical.

(For any WPMU admins: the way it’s done is via Site Admin / Blogs / Edit – quite separate from Site Admin / Themes.)

First Exc-el Meeting of 2007

Update 10/1/07: Tess Watson was present too!

Here are notes from Monday’s meeting. Comments welcome. (Word doc: Notes of Exc-el Meeting No.1, 8.1.2007)

See also:

Exc-el Board Meeting




EXC-EL DEVELOPMENT – www.exc-el.org.uk

Notes of Exc-el Board Meeting No.1, held in John Muir House on Monday 8th January 2007
Continue reading First Exc-el Meeting of 2007

WordPress – customising the content of our blogs

WordPress includes powerful functions to enable the contents of a blog to be customised. For example, we might want to display Categories using their full descriptions, not their short names, in part of a blog. This is done using template tags. Typically a blog owner might do this by making changes to the PHP template files for the theme chosen for the blog.

With WordPress Multi-User, things aren’t so simple. Any given set of theme files, such as those for the 3K2 theme used for this blog, may be used for many blogs. Changing any of these files, then, will affect all those blogs. How to get round this? I spent a bit of time on this over the break, and thought of a number of ways it could be done with some pros and cons. Unable to find a discussion of the topic on the web, I raised a question in the WPMU support forum to get some pointers to what others do. There were 2 replies within two hours, this and this and problem is solved.

This quality of support is excellent, and better than that I’ve known under many expensive support contracts. I feel a strong sense that we should try to contribute what we can back into the WordPress community.

5 things you don’t know about me

It’s my turn, thanks to Mrs O’Neill.

1. My mother, as a “mature entrant”, and many other relatives on my fathers’ side including both grandparents, great-uncle and father’s cousins were all school teachers of one sort or another.

2. Two separate people, for some unfathomable reason, gave me presents of Grumpy Old Men books (the Official Handbook and the Secret Diary, since you ask) this Christmas. From this, you can probably work out a whole lot more things about me. You won’t, for example, bump into me in Ikea. Best stop there, I think.

3. I enjoy cycling, and get out on the bike nearly every weekend. The challenge now is to keep up with my sons (13 and 9), on the occasions when they come along. I have an ancient rusty bike, which has done thousands of miles around East Lothian in all weathers – often with a child in a seat before he got too big – and contains hardly any original bits.

4. I was fired from my first job as a 12+ hour-a-day waiter in a hotel on Bute for complaining that the hotel’s owner (motto: “What they don’t see won’t harm them”) hadn’t allowed enough food for the staff to eat.

5. I have been inside a nuclear reactor. Luckily it was shutdown at the time.

I will tag Alan Coady, Lynne Lewis, Karen Robertson, Barry Smith and Richard Wilson. Most of them have young children, and I won’t be at all offended – or surprised – if they give priority to playing with the Christmas toys!